Gough Lab

Thanks for visiting! Here, you will find information about our research in plant physiological and ecosystem ecology. Our emphasis is on understanding how climate, disturbance, succession, and ecosystem structure affect leaf to ecosystem-scale function, with a focus on forest and wetland carbon cycling.  Currently, we seek undergraduate student collaborators to conduct Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), and NASA supported research at VCU's Rice Rivers Center, and the University of Michigan Biological Station. Please contact Chris.

What are we doing this field season? A National Science Foundation project is asking how forests respond to different levels of disturbance. NASA’s Student Airborne Research Program East (SARP-E) is providing immersive research training for undergraduates. And, a DOE experiment is using mesocosms and flux towers to test the effects of sea level rise and nitrogen pollution on wetland carbon fluxes.

Partially defoliated canopy.

EARLY CAREER RESOURCES
There’s a lot I don’t know, but I felt particularly unsure about a few things as an early-career adjunct professor trying, and often failing, to gain traction in an academic setting. Some of that trial and error could have been avoided if I’d had examples — good, bad, and ugly — of proposals, promotion dossiers, manuscript submissions, and example interactions with journal editors and program officers.  (For example, the ugly: I once cold-called the now legendary and late NSF program officer Henry Gholz, asking for RAPID funding on the spot when I had never ever submitted a proposal to the Foundation — don’t do that. In his firm thumbs down, he was gracious and candid, as always.) I’ve assembled an incomplete compilation of materials that could be helpful as early career and aspirational faculty navigate the sometimes opaque space we call “academia”. This is a work in progress and includes only examples (w/o much interpretation or guidance), but feel free to connect with me if you have any questions. 

Partially defoliated canopy.
Partially defoliated canopy.